Irish cricket has received another boost with the news that its Women's side will be taking on England, the MCC and New Zealand in a quadrangular 50-over tournament this summer.
The side will play double world-champions England, double world-finalists in 2009 New Zealand and the MCC once in July with the venues for the matches in England to be confirmed.
“It’s a great chance for the side to play the top teams, and one which they fully deserve. I’ve been impressed by the standard and quality of the players, and there’s some terrific young talent coming through which bodes well for the future," Ireland Cricket Operations Manager Mark Garraway commented.
“These type of games are just what is required, and with the quality in the squad, the playing programme is warranted. We can only improve by playing top level opposition, and it will give the squad a terrific lift.”
Irish captain Heather Whelan added:
“I'm absolutely delighted that Ireland has been given the chance to play two of the best sides in the world this summer. Playing England and New Zealand outside of a World Cup is a fantastic opportunity for us. It’s especially exciting for the new players on the squad who would never have played against opposition of this calibre before.”
“It's a great way to start off our international season before heading to Scotland for the European Championships in August and then Dubai for the ranking tournament in October.”
Irish coach Paul Delany said: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the squad, and we’re relishing the chance to play the world’s elite. We are training indoors during the winter and have brought in specialist coaches to help us prepare for the coming season.”
“In training we are employing the drills used by the best teams in the world in an attempt to make us world class. Next year we play all the top ten sides bar Australia and India, so our training has to be geared to try to match these teams.”
“Those who have helped so far are Trent Johnston, Paul Tweedle - who is a wicket-keeper coach from the UK, David Langford Smith, and Mark Garaway. Others who will be assisting us are Adi Birrell, Matt Dwyer while Paul Tweedle will be with us again in February. These people have been involved with some of the best men’s sides in the world so that input is great for us – our task of course is to make it work. We are currently ranked ninth and with a tournament in Dubai in Oct 2010 for teams ranked 5–10, we hope to move up two places in the world rankings.”
© Cricket World 2010